India`s Sharmila wants to pocket maiden Indian Open title

Gurgaon: Sharmila Nicollet has her task cut
out for this week`s Hero Honda Indian Open but the rising
golfer said she wants to be the first Indian women to win the
USD 30,000 golf tournament starting on Thursday.

"I want to win this tournament and become the first
Indian women to do so. C Muniyappa did that in 2009 and I also
want to win this one. I have been in good form and my game is
also good. Let’s see what the weekend has in store for me," she

"I am familiar with the course and that would be an
advantage. I will look to play under par consistently," said
Sharmila, who will have to fight it out with Laura Davies, Lee
Ann Pace and Melissa Reid -? the top-three on the Ladies
European Tour -- at the DLF golf course here.

Sharmila, who has won three times on the Women`s Indian
Tour this year, said her performance at this week`s Indian
Open will decide where her career is headed towards.

"I want to do well here as my performance will decide
where I head to next. I will take a call if to play in the
European, or Asian or Japan only after this tournament," she

"I want to go abroad and get some exposure. There is lot
of scope abroad. I want to play against the best at the
European tour and LPGA," she added.

Helen Alfredsson of Sweden will also compete in the
54-hole tournament and said she was pretty impressed by the
course here.

"The condition is good. I was pleasently surprised with
the course here. I love India but I couldn`t come here and so
I am happy that I could come here," she said.

Defending champion and two-time winner Phatlum Pornanong
of Thailand said she was eyeing a hat-trick of titles.

"There are many good players here and it is going to be
tough so I don`t want to think too much and just play and hope
it clicks and I win the title," she quipped.

A total of 122 golfers will tee off on Thursday in the
tournament, which is tri-sanctioned by the Ladies European
Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and Women`s Golf
Association of India (WGAI).